Guinea pigs are small pets found in many households. They are friendly, sociable, and playful making them adorable to have.
They require low maintenance with simple needs of food, cleaning, toys, and some daily exercise. You can keep them whether you have a large or small space because you can let them out in the house for their exercise needs as they are small and do not need a big area.
Guinea pigs have varied personalities like humans and they tend to get bored fast, mostly if they don’t have cagemates. This makes it essential to equip their cages with interesting accessories to reduce boredom and keep them entertained.
Cage accessories can include play toys, chew toys, tunnels, pillows, bedding, boxes, or hideys filled with hay, food bowls, water bottles, litter box, hay rack, etc.
Apart from these, some people do include blankets in the cage. Is it okay to do that? Read on to find out.
Can guinea pigs have blankets in their cage?
Guinea pigs can have blankets in their cage. Blankets provide a cozy living space, keep them warm, give them something to hide under, can be used as bedding, and help in maintaining a clean cage. Blankets are convenient to wash too as you can either hand wash or dry clean whichever works for you.
Uses of blankets in a guinea pig cage
Blankets can be used for various reasons in the cage. They include:
There are many forms of cage bedding like recycled paper, Aspen shavings, and hay. Fleece blankets are a favorite among many people.
Fleece blankets provide a comfy and cozy sleeping area that guinea pigs enjoy and feel comfortable in.
Blankets are also cheaper compared to other beddings like wood shavings. They can be easily washed and reused.
Blankets have good absorbent material that will absorb spilled water and urine. This helps keep the cage dry and free of stains by providing a layer of protection.
Blankets dry fast compared to other bedding ensuring that your pet is living in dry environments. They will also cover the cage well and prevent guinea pigs from bumblefoot which can be brought about by stepping on the hard metallic cage material.
Blanket bedding ensures that spot cleaning is easier. All you do is carry the blanket, empty its contents, and spread it on the cage once more.
Blankets can provide warmth to guinea pigs. The pets love to snuggle up on them whenever they want to sleep for the extra warmth they provide.
Guinea pigs cannot regulate their temperatures and blankets will help in keeping them warm when the weather gets too cold.
Guinea pigs like burrowing and hiding. This is because of their prey instincts to hide from predators as they cannot fight them.
Blankets provide a good hiding place as they can burrow under them and hide there if they feel threatened or insecure.
Risks associated with using blankets in the cage
Blankets may have some risks when used in the cage. You should always be careful and provide the right blanket to avoid these types of accidents.
Check the blanket for holes often. Your guinea pig could put their paws in the holes and they could get stuck there.
It will be even more serious if your guinea pig gets their head through a hole and they can’t take it out. These types of accidents will stress out your pet and make them anxious.
You can stitch up the holes or get a new blanket to avoid stressful accidents that could cause injuries in your absence.
A huge blanket may be a problem for your guinea pig to get out of if they burrow under it and get rolled up in it.
This is risky and it could bring about suffocation as your pet will be unable to breathe. Always provide a blanket that is small enough for their small bodies. You could even use cut up towels.
The blankets may bring about allergic reactions in your guinea pig. It could be either the blankets’ fabric, the detergent used to do laundry, or the fabric softener.
Be keen to figure out what is bringing about the reaction.
Having blankets in a guinea pig’s cage may bring about overheating if they provide too much warmth. An overheated guinea pig will lie down limp, be lethargic, breathe very fast or really slowly, and have an increased heart rate.
If your guinea pig is overheated, avoid dipping them in cold water right away because such a drastic change in temperatures could shock them to death. Instead, dip your hand in the water and rub it over their fur several times.
As they cool down, dip a small towel in water, wring it dry and wrap them in it.
Ticks and fleas
Blankets may provide a perfect breeding place for ticks and fleas. If left unwashed for long periods, they could harbor families of the parasites and lead to an infestation.
Ensure that you wash the blankets often to get rid of any parasites and their eggs.
How to wash guinea pig blankets?
Guinea pig blankets should be washed when doing deep cleaning of the cage. Unless they are stained and stinking too much, once a week would be ideal.
They can either be hand washed or machine washed. First brush off any hairs or foods stuck on the blanket before washing.
Use detergent that is safe for guinea pigs to avoid allergic reactions. Apple cider vinegar can be used in place of detergent as it is a good stain and odor remover.
It’s also powerful for getting rid of bacteria and parasites. Soak blankets in equal parts of water and vinegar for stubborn stains.
Blankets are essential accessories for guinea pig cages. They provide warmth and give guinea pigs a feel of safety.
Offer small-sized blankets to avoid suffocation and make sure that they do not have holes to avoid accidents. Ensure the blankets are washed often to keep the cage clean and to rid it of odors and parasites.